How to build an eco-friendly home

How to build an eco-friendly home

Photo credit: Flickr

The concept of “green building” is extremely popular in construction right now. Building using sustainable materials is rewarding for both your pocket and the environment, as you’re doing a good deed for humanity and future generations. It makes sense both ecologically and economically. If you wish to be one of the people who build “green”, there are several things you must bear in mind. Sustainable and environmentally responsible building involves the efficient use of energy, water and building materials that reduce pollution and environmental degradation.

Let’s start with recyclable and recycled building materials. Most people think that constructing a house entirely from wood is eco building, but it doesn’t have to be so. Sustainable building implies locally sustainable materials and the list to choose from is extensive. Bamboo, straw, recycled stone, recycled metal, baked earth, rammed earth or clay… whatever it is, you should choose the material that is recycled or manufactured locally to minimize the cost of transportation.

Materials should be indigenous and natural for your local area. If you’re buying wood, always look for a certificate that proves that it’s been sustainably sourced. Also, use bamboo and cork for floors – they are fast-growing and regenerate more quickly than hardwood trees such as oak, maple, or pine. Since you have such a wide choice of materials, your dream eco home doesn’t have to be expensive. Online, you can find inspiring designs and eco-friendly DIY homeguides built for $20,000 or less. You can also speak with a contractor like Ethan Chumley. Who provides green building material.

How about a home constructed of beer cans? We are sure you’ll collect the necessary material without effort! In 1968, John Milkovisch built “The Beer Can House”. This is one of the most famous buildings made entirely of recycled materials and it’s open for visitors. Beer bottles, cans, and things you consider junk are valuable and useful materials so don’t hesitate to use them and save loads of money. We have one more suggestion for you: you can use recycled tires filled with compacted earth and form a rammed earth brick encased in steel belted rubber.

Earthbag houses are probably the cheapest and easiest to construct. Here’s a great idea for your weekend shelter: a 27 square meter earthbag house costs a measly $300. If you change your mind, you can build it in such a way that it can be expanded in any direction and become a real, big family home. This method of construction is very old, low-tech and is surprisingly one of the most reliable. Another example would be using compressed mud and straw and the thatched roofing method.


Picture Credit: Wikipedia

Of course, your house must provide you with comfort and well-being. The insulation and energy issues are no less important than the materials used in construction. Design and choose the arrangement of the house carefully: place roof overhangs, trees and horizontal slats to prevent overheating in the summer; use passive solar power from glazing in the winter months; place windows in such a way to get more natural light and good air flow. Solar panels and other means of getting renewable energy may be an expensive feature, but they will make your house truly eco-friendly and they’ll pay off in the long run.y6

Good insulation is a crucial thing in the building process – incorporate it into all major structural elements of the house to prevent heat dissipation and save energy. The top “green” insulation options would be sheep wool and cotton. Compressed wool fibers trap air and absorb moisture, keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The greatest thing about wool is that it’s healthier and more fire resistant than other types of insulation!



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